Eng, T.C., Chen, W., Okuda, K.S., Misa, J.P., Padberg, Y., Crosier, K.E., Crosier, P.S., Hall, C.J., Schulte-Merker, S., Hogan, B.M., Astin, J.W. (2019) Zebrafish facial lymphatics develop through sequential addition of venous and non-venous progenitors. EMBO reports. 20(5):.
Lymphatic vessels are known to be derived from veins; however, recent lineage-tracing experiments propose that specific lymphatic networks may originate from both venous and non-venous sources. Despite this, direct evidence of a non-venous lymphatic progenitor is missing. Here, we show that the zebrafish facial lymphatic network is derived from three distinct progenitor populations that add sequentially to the developing facial lymphatic through a relay-like mechanism. We show that while two facial lymphatic progenitor populations are venous in origin, the third population, termed the ventral aorta lymphangioblast (VA-L), does not sprout from a vessel; instead, it arises from a migratory angioblast cell near the ventral aorta that initially lacks both venous and lymphatic markers, and contributes to the facial lymphatics and the hypobranchial artery. We propose that sequential addition of venous and non-venous progenitors allows the facial lymphatics to form in an area that is relatively devoid of veins. Overall, this study provides conclusive, live imaging-based evidence of a non-venous lymphatic progenitor and demonstrates that the origin and development of lymphatic vessels is context-dependent.